Should Anime Series Take Regular Breaks?

Should Anime Series Take Regular Breaks?


So much in the world has changed thanks to digital technologies. From how we shop to how we make phone calls nothing is the same today compared to what it was just 25 years ago. Even anime has changed. It has changed so much that studios are now asking themselves whether their series should take seasonal breaks.

Way back in the day, it wasn’t unusual for creators to produce a new episode every week. Each one would build on the next in an incredibly long-running story. Many studios still do that. But with the advent of streaming at the expense of programmed television, studios find themselves in an awkward position because fans can binge watch and quickly catch up. What do they do to prevent fan boredom?

Streaming Has Changed the Game

Before streaming was a thing, you had to sit down in front of the television to watch your favorite show at the same time every week. If that hot anime series was on at 7 PM on Wednesdays, that was it. You either watched it in real time or recorded and watched it later. In either case, you didn’t have access to a full library of past episodes you could watch on demand.

This model suited anime studios just fine. Producing one new episode per week was doable. Even studios whose anime series were based on currently running Manga serials could make it work. They would just be a week or two behind each new installment of the serial in question.

Streaming has now changed everything. First of all, viewers are not locked into a specific day and time. They can watch whenever. Second, watching one episode tends to create the desire to watch another immediately thereafter. So even if a new fan picks up a show half-way through the current season, getting all caught up in under a week isn’t hard to do.

Ways to Keep Fans Happy

Anime creators have come to realize that streaming and binge watching has created an entirely new kind of fan. These are fans who still love to buy anime T-shirts and sweatshirts from UmaiClothing a few times every year, but they also want access to new content through their streaming services. This leaves studios with one of three options:

1. Story Arcs

The first option is to come up with story arcs. A story arc is a sub-plot that can be developed within an existing story line. Imagine you have an anime series with a main story line revolving around a brother and sister team of crime fighters. One episode might make mention of how the siblings parents died. That mention may have been made in passing, but the creators have just come up with something they can use for a story arc.

2. Story Padding

The second option is one fans do not take too kindly to: story padding. This is a tactic that looks to extend certain types of scenes in order to extend the length of their respective shows, thereby making it possible to produce more shows with the same amount of story material.

3. Taking Breaks

The final option is to just take breaks the same way network television does. Taking breaks is hard for some anime fans to swallow, but they are starting to get used to it. As studios exercise that option more frequently, viewers are working around it. The fact that they are suggests taking breaks is the wave of the future.

Should anime studios take seasonal breaks? It is already happening, so answering the question might be moot after all.

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